"a fashion fantasia"

No. 1-26 (all published), in the original pictorial wrappers, stapled in the spine, together 25 volumes (as 15/16 was double). 8vo, 34-128pp each. Montreal / New York / Bizarre Publishing Company / 1946-1959. Printed wraps (mostly b/w photographically illustrated with colour added on some covers). Numerous Black & White plates full page and in the text. Price stamped to some issues. All issues well preserved, most, near mint, with only light wear to some volumes. Single issues of this self published magazine are already uncommon, but a complete run is extremely rare.
Complete FETISH periodical founded and edited by legendary John Willie, born John Alexander Scott Coutts [9 December 1902 Singapore. Died 5 August 1962 (aged 59) England]. Photographer, artist, comic strip cartoonist, editor of Bizarre Magazine (1946-1956), and the publisher of the first twenty issues of Bizarre. Willie is best known for his fetish illustration and bondage fantasy comics, specifically "Sweet Gwendoline," featuring the villain Sir Dystic d'Arcy. Coutts was able to avoid controversy in censorship through careful attention to guidelines and the use of humor. Though distributed underground, "Bizarre" magazine had a far-reaching impact on later fetish-themed publications and experienced a resurgence in popularity along with well-known fetish model Bettie Page, starting in the 1970s. Though Willie was only directly responsible for the first 20 issues, all 26 published issues are present here.
The first issue is curiously titled Vol. 2 January 1946, because Willie wanted the publication to appear more established. So the first issues have erratic dating, (in fact copyrighted 1951) and the first ones state they are reprints of 1953. What is titled as issue 1 was published much later in 1954, and volume 15/16 are published in one volume. Early issues were sold primarily by mail order, with later issues being stocked in a small number of specialist outlets. Betty Page on the cover of No. 14, and Marilyn Monroe photographed on the inside front wrapper of no. 23.
It’s almost impossible to convey the importance, impact and place in the history of fetish publishing of Bizarre, the brainchild and private passion of Singapore Born John Alexander Coutts aka John Willie. His contribution and the quality of his work is amongst the most respected in the genre, obscured by his reclusiveness and the clandestine nature of his published output, which until some years after his death remained an exclusively underground phenomenon. Willie acted not only as editor, but also took almost all of the photographs (many featuring his wife Holly Anna Faram) and drew all of the illustrations. He sold Bizarre in 1956 and moved to Los Angeles where he continued his photographic work until he suffered a brain tumour after which he destroyed his work and archive and moved to England until his death in 1962. His combination of talent and inclination are quite unique and quite distinct from his peers, and his style seems to have accidentally become part of a common cultural lexicon, so much so that when classic fetish is referenced in a modern context, it almost always looks as if it was heavily influenced by the hand of Willie himself. A few private holdings, one institutional holding declared, and 2 more which are known of. Particularly interesting is the advertising for "Achilles" footwear, high heels, "For slaves of Fashion, Theatrical Footwear", many photographs, footwear and lingerie designs.

More images: